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Lateral chromatic aberration

Lateral Chromatic Aberration (Color Fringing)

Digital sensors and their cover glass filter add a substantial variable in amplifying both astigmatism and LACA; see Astigmatism and Digital Sensors.

Lateral chromatic aberration (LACA) is commonly referred to simply as “color fringing” which almost always occurs (in modern lens designs) only as red/cyan fringes on high contrast edges. LACA smears details in an out-of-register way that is very disturbing to the eye, as seen in the small crop at right.

LACA does not improve with stopping down (unlike longitudinal chromatic aberration), but there are similar color fringing effects that look similar to LACA. And because other aberrations do improve with stopping down, LACA often becomes more noticeable with stopping down, because it is the only significant aberration remaining. It can be corrected in many RAW converters.

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Intrigued? See Focusing Zeiss DSLR Lenses For Peak Performance, PART ONE: The Challenges, or (one topic of many) field curvature.

Actual image of light from a prism.
Lateral chromatic aberration is esssentially a prism-like effect;
Longitudinal chromatic aberration occurs for similar reasons

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